I’m interested in the relationship between historical and contemporary craft traditions, as well as the on-going dialogue between different crafts such as ceramics, metalware, glass and painting. In my early work, Planeware, I developed porcelain slab construction techniques inspired by tinware and Song Dynasty qingbai ware (which, in turn, was influenced by Tang Dynasty silver and gold ware). My newest series, Painted, explores the long history of slip decoration in ceramics as well as the relationship between painting and ceramics. As with hakeme, in the Painted series brushes are used to apply slip. But Painted removes the “ground” of the underlying thrown form, leaving behind only the slip.
An amateur researcher of ancient Chinese ceramics and glazes, I am continuing to develop a number of glaze types using both traditional materials (such as porcelain stone and natural ashes) and modern materials. As a part of this research I created Glazy (https://glazy.org), a free platform for sharing and analyzing ceramics recipes. I’m a strong promoter of open-source software and the benefits it can bring to the ceramics community.
After two years of a much too liberal education, Derek Au dropped out of college and headed West to California in order to “be a potter”. But the money soon ran out and Derek’s only options were either to become a forklift operator or go back to school.
After five more years of university Derek headed West for the gold rush of his day- the Internet boom. But before the bubble burst, Derek was already disenchanted. He left work and resumed making pots until, inevitably, he once again needed a real job.
Suddenly Derek found himself “saving the planet” in Europe’s den of iniquity, Amsterdam. Work led to a hippie ship, and the ship led to China. In between journeys, Derek spent time between a ceramic studio and Beijing, where he began studying Mandarin.
In 2007, Derek finally visited the world capital of porcelain, Jingdezhen. He has been in Jingdezhen ever since, where he is attempting once again to become a potter.
11 years experience as a professional studio ceramicist, 2 years experience managing a resident studio, and 2 years working for a large-scale ceramics production workshop and residency. Experienced with all aspects of ceramics production: ceramic chemistry, clay & glaze formulation and preparation, traditional & modern fabrication processes, and maintenance and firing of a wide variety of kiln types and sizes.
Experience living and working in a number of different countries and cultures. Fluent English, Intermediate-Advanced spoken Mandarin Chinese, Intermediate written Mandarin Chinese.
C.V. available upon request.